This review was written back in October 2016 on the original Mi Community.
If you have not heard the announcement yet, Mi Band 2 has been announced in Singapore!!! You can purchase it from the new Mi Home in Suntec City at only $49.90. Should you get the Mi Band 2? Is it a worthy upgrade over the Mi Band and Mi Band Pulse? Let’s find out.
I have been using the Mi Band 2 for one and a half month now and I must say I am very impressed with the changes Xiaomi made to the Mi Band 2. Those changes addressed most of the issues we had on the Mi Band and Mi Band Pulse and there are few flaws I can point out about the Mi Band 2.
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Packaging of local Mi Band 2
The Mi Band 2 sensor is slightly thicker and wider than the Mi Band Pulse but there is a very good reason for that. The Mi Band 2 has an OLED display! The display itself is kind of tiny at 0.42” but because it is OLED, the blacks are so deep it matches seamlessly with the entire front portion of the sensor, giving it a really clean look. Great stuff. Below the display is a round anodized touch-sensitive button, which you can use to navigate through the Mi Band 2’s interface. Due to the larger size, the old Mi Band and Mi Band Pulse charging cable will not fit the Mi Band 2. Like the Mi Band and Mi Band Pulse, the Mi Band 2 is rated IP67 water and dust resistant so showering with it should not be a problem.
The strap has been redesigned too! Previously, an issue many users (myself included) had with the Mi Band and Mi Band 2 strap is its durability. The original Mi Band strap broke really easily over time at the loop and the area near the sensor. This time, Xiaomi went with a smoother and more flexible material and it seems to make the strap a lot more durable than the previous one. The area around the sensor is also a lot thicker. The pin of the strap has the same finish as the button on the sensor, a really nice attention to detail. Overall, I think the new strap is a huge improvement over the previous one and my only complaint is that water can get trapped between the strap after you wash your hand, which can be really annoying.
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From left to right: Mi Band 2, Mi Band Pulse, Mi Band
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Mi Band 2
Display & Interface
The OLED display is perfectly visible indoors but you will struggle to read it directly under the sun. Lift to wake is present on the Mi Band 2 (can be disabled through the app) and it is pretty sensitive. However, I prefer to turn it off as I tend to move around a lot while sleeping and that triggers the display more often than I would have liked it to. There are a couple of things that can be displayed on the Mi Band 2 and these can be configured in the Mi Fit app. The one that most people will be excited about is its ability to display time and date. The Mi Band 2 can replace your watch! Also, you can now record heartrate readings and view steps directly from the band.
There is only one way to scroll through the Mi Band 2’s interface and that is to tap on the button. It works really well if you only have 3 or less items to display on the Mi Band 2 but when you have more, it gets really frustrating to have to tap the button multiple times to get back to the time page. I hope to see this addressed in the next iteration of Mi Band, with a more intuitive way to scroll through the interface.
Steps, Sleep & Heartrate
Steps are really accurate (even short distance) as long as you walk naturally. Excessive swinging would count towards the steps but this is a problem most fitness trackers face so we cannot penalise the Mi Band 2 for it. The Mi Band 2 gets the sleep duration right most of the time. Just like the Mi Band Pulse, the heartrate sensor on the Mi Band 2 is not very reliable and should only be used as a rough gauge of your heartrate. Nevertheless, thanks to the added convenience of the new display, I found myself using the heartrate sensor on the Mi Band 2 a lot more frequently than on the Mi Band Pulse.
The Mi Band 2 outshines its competition with its superb battery life. 70mAh sounds abysmal when compared to the 3000+mAh batteries on our smartphones but it gets the job done on the Mi Band 2. Under typical usage, I was able to squeeze over 25 days of battery life out of a single charge. (advertised to have 20 days standby time) Of course, this will vary depending on usage. For a fitness tracker with a display, even 14 days of battery would be considered excellent.
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Battery life of Mi Band 2
App & Features
Like all other Mi Bands, The Mi Band 2 can be paired with the Mi Fit app available for both iOS and Android devices. The app can be downloaded directly form the Google Play Store (download from Mi Market for latest version) and Apple App Store. Do note that only devices with Android 4.4 and above or iOS 7 and above are compatible with the Mi Band 2. (Bluetooth 4.0 is also required) Existing Mi Band users should be really familiar to Mi Fit app’s interface.
SETUP: Before you can use the app, you will have to login with your Mi Account. Next, under “Profile” on the bottom right, select “Add Device” and tap on “Mi Band”. Wait a few seconds (can take a while) and the Mi Band 2 should vibrate with an icon appearing on the band’s display. Now, tap on the band’s touch-sensitive button to pair with your phone. The phone will notify you when pairing is done.
The “Status” page displays all of the step, sleep and heartrate readings recorded today. Tap on the readings, then “History” and you will be able to check all your past readings. On the “Play” Page, you have the option to toggle band notifications, which can cause the band to vibrate if you sit for too long (idle ) or when your phone receives an incoming call, app notification, etc. You can also sync your Mi Band with other health apps (not all supported) like Google Fit and Apple Health. Lastly, we have the “Profile” page where you can find all the settings to your band and add other devices.
Like all other Mi Bands, you are asked to set your daily step target right after you set it up. (can be changed later by changing "Activity goal" on "Profile" page) When you hit your target for that day, the band will vibrate to notify you that you reached your target. (if it does not do this, go to “Play” > “More” > “Goals notifications” and make sure that it is turned on) You can share your daily progress with your friends on social media by going to “Status” page and tapping the icon on the to p right.
Overall, the app is really easy to use. When compared to other health app, the Mi Fit lacks features like nutrition and workouts but if you really need those features, you can always sync the Mi Fit data to other compatible health apps. One area that really needs improvement is pairing. Pairing can be a pain when you have multiple devices. I would like to be able to pair my Mi Band 2 to my phone and have it linked to my Mi Account such that all my devices logged in to that Mi Account can sync with the Mi Band 2.
- Really affordable
- Sleek design
- Strap is a lot more durable and comfortable to wear
- OLED display that can display time and date
- Check and take your readings directly from the band
- Rated IP67 water and dust resistant
- Accurate step count and sleep data
- Insane battery life
- Compatible with both Android and iOS (check requirement above)
- Easy to use app
- Strap can trap water easily
- Display not very bright
- Heartrate sensor not very reliable
- App may be to simplistic for some
Should you get a Mi Band 2? Definitely. At this price, you can hardly find another fitness tracker that can provide a greater value. With a beautiful design, OLED display and an amazing battery life, the Mi Band 2 is able offer a lot more than its competitors, at a portion of the price. Should you replace your Mi Band or Mi Band Pulse with a Mi Band 2? If you do not mind spending another $50, YES! The Mi Band 2 addresses many of its predecessors’ shortcomings like strap durability and the lack of a display. Being able to check the time directly from the Mi Band 2 is very convenient and that itself can be a reason to upgrade for many people. If you are still not convinced on getting a Mi Band 2 and want to take a look before buying, display sets are available at the new Mi Home.